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China’s Foreign Policy in South China Sea: between Soft and Hard Power

Student: Jasur Turg'unboev

Supervisor: Nina Y. Belyaeva

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Political Analysis and Public Policy (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The territorial disputes and tensions connected with borderlines are still vitally important for states even could be a casus belli by increasing the possibility of military conflicts among nations. One of the striking examples of such an unresolved long-standing territorial dispute is the South China Sea conflict. The geopolitical and geostrategic interest of this sea for China and neighboring countries is very crucial due to its significance in connecting Indian and Pacific oceans and rich natural resources. Given the recent years' escalation of this dispute, the research problem focuses on the South China Sea dispute intensification. The regional stability and security depend on China's foreign policy toward the South China Sea and how does China regulate the territorial dispute with neighboring countries. That’s why this research work is aimed to analyze China's foreign policy toward the South China Sea dispute and to identify which foreign policy instrument implements China for protecting national interests in external actions toward the South China Sea: hard or soft power? Research tasks are to identify the historical background of this territorial and maritime conflict between China and other neighboring countries, to consider the main claims and interests of the states.

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